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Ronna McDaniel invites Republicans to discuss abortion in order to win in 2024

During Wednesday's presidential debate, the RNC chair welcomed the discussion that took place around the issue.

Ronna McDaniel/Wikimedia Commons

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In addition to the economy, Ukraine and national security, among other topics, abortion was one of the main talking points during the first Republican debate. The very fact that there was discussion about it was cause for celebration for Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee (RNC). Contrary to what the moderators Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum said, it could be a winning topic in 2024.

McDaniel, who has chaired the RNC since January 2017 and faced internal criticism after the 2022 midterm elections, happily recapped Wednesday’s debate.

“I was very pleased to see them talk about abortion. Democrats used that in 2022. ... If our candidates aren’t able to fend a response and put out a response, we’re not going to win. They’re going to do it again in 2024. And I thought all of them did a really good job on that,” she told Fox News.

In addition, she commented that the Republican debate showed the Democratic Party as the most extreme on this issue. “I do think they all had a consensus that as a country we should all say when a baby feels pain at 15 weeks, we should all agree that this is a bridge too far and we should not be having abortions. And then they called out the extremism of the Democrats, who support due-date abortions and gender-selected abortions,” she added.

The abortion debate

The second topic of the night was abortion, an issue that moderators say has hurt Republicans at the ballot box since the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The dilemma is whether to push for a federal law from the White House or allow states to enact their own laws.

For example, DeSantis declined to comment on whether he would sign a six-week ban and said he was “on the side of life,” while criticizing Democrats for allowing “abortion up to the moment of birth.”

Burgum exemplified his stance with a pocket constitution. “I support that we shouldn’t have a federal ban on abortion. We shouldn’t do it, and the reason we shouldn’t is very simple. It’s the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution,” he said. In the same vein, Hutchinson stressed that the Supreme Court ruling gave power back to voters, so a federal law is unnecessary.

Seconds later, Pence and Haley clashed over the former South Carolina governor’s call for a “consensus.” “Consensus is the opposite of leadership,” the former vice president responded, referring to a ban after 15 weeks, pushed by some anti-abortion activists.

“Don’t make women feel like they have to decide on this issue when you know we don’t have 60 votes in the Senate,” Haley continued.

By the time everyone finished their turn speaking, only Pence and Scott had come out in favor of a nationwide ban. “We can’t leave it to Illinois. We can’t leave it in Minnesota’s hands,” the senator argued.